The Clarion July, 2024

Volume 5, Issue 7              July  2024  


It’s hard to believe that we are in the second half of  the year. Being in the middle of anything can be a hard place to be. Take a tunnel, when you are in the middle of a long tunnel you can’t see the beginning of it, where you entered, nor can you see the end of it either. It’s like going through a crisis. You may ask yourself, when or where will all this end? It’s a hard place to be in when you can’t see the end of your problem. But there is One who sees the beginning from the end and that is God our Father. You can rest assured that God is in control of all things. When we give Him our lives, we then begin to walk with Him. In Amos 3:3 God asks this question: “Do two walk together without having met?” And from there it all begins with trust, Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Psalm 91: 1-12 says, “One who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will lodge in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and My fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who rescues you from the net of the trapper and from the deadly plague. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may take refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and wall. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the plague that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that devastates at noon. A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes and see the retaliation against the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will happen to you, nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. On their hands they will lift you up, so that you do not strike your foot against a stone.”  No matter what is happening around you or in your tent, always remember, it always seems the darkest before the light, but know this, God’s light will lead you when you trust in Him. Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

The Hidden Meanings Behind  the Miracles of Yeshua: Part One

Were Yeshua’s miracles just random miracles or was there a hidden meaning behind them? Have we missed the deeper meaning behind what Yeshua has said and done? Let’s look at what seems to be His first miracle after He had called several of His apostles as we read in John 2:1-11. “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of  Yeshua was there; and both Yeshua and His disciples were invited to the wedding.  When the wine ran out, the mother of Yeshua said to Him, “They have no wine.”  And Yeshua said to her, “What business do you have with Me, woman? My hour has not yet come.”  His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He tells you, do it.”  Now there were six stone waterpots standing there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing two or three measures each. Yeshua said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim.  And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him.  Now when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the head waiter called the groom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the guests are drunk, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”  This beginning of His signs Yeshua did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”

Now on the surface this seems to be a simple case of water turning into wine, but let’s dig a little deeper. We will start in John 15:1-8  which  tells us that Yeshua is the grapevine. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you.  Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” 

Wine was considered a blessing, because wine was a staple and you could say it was considered like drinking water. People drank wine at their meals, grapes grew in abundance in Israel. This blessing in Genesis 27:28 says this, “Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, (rain) and of the fatness of the earth, (good nutrient soil) and an abundance of grain (bread) and new wine.” Isaac could not have blessed Jacob any more than this. Agriculture was the source of life and we

see that wine was just as important for a sweet life.  And so because of this we see that a Nazarite was not to drink wine, because he was to deny himself the pleasure for the sake of his vow. Numbers 6:3 says, “He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.” 

But wine was also for healing as Luke 10:34  tells us, And he came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” So let’s go back and look at another point in this passage. When Mary, Yeshua’s mother, came to Him and told Him that they were out of wine, Yeshua responded like this “What business do you have with Me, woman? My hour has not yet come.”  First of all, Yeshua was not being disrespectful of His mother. But what He was insinuating was that His calling and His task was for Him only. You see, the name Yeshua means “ God’s Salvation,” Messiah,  “The Anointed One.” Any transliteration of this name, just does not mean the same. Yeshua’s name is just that, His task in life, and that task was to bring salvation to the people who would receive Him. Calling Him anything but His Jewish, God given name, does not give the true and proper witness to who He is. The fact that Yeshua said that it was not His time was because He was referring to His crucifixion. We see in Matthew 26:20-29  that Yeshua and His disciples were celebrating the Passover Seder. But first we want to say that verse 17 is interpreted incorrectly. “Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Yeshua and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”  Now, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the Sabbath that was beginning at sunset when Yeshua died and they needed to take His body off the cross as Deuteronomy 21:22-23 tells us,  “Now if a person has committed a sin carrying a sentence of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body is not to be left overnight on the tree, but you shall certainly bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is cursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord  your God is giving you as an inheritance.” So let’s continue with verse 20-25, Now when evening came, Yeshua was reclining at the table with the twelve.  And as they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” Being deeply grieved, they began saying to Him, each one: “Surely it is not I, Lord?”  And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me.  The Son of Man is going away just as it is written about Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”  And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Yeshua said to him, “You have said it yourself.” As we read the account of what we call the Last Supper, we can clearly see that Yeshua was celebrating the Passover Seder. It was

at this point of the dipping of the parsley, ( or it may have been another green type vegetable back then) which was called karpas, that Yeshua spoke this to His betrayer. In the Seder you  dip the parsley into salt water signifying the tears and suffering of the Israelites who were in bondage in Egypt. Verses 26-29 continues, “Now while they were eating, Yeshua took some bread (Matzah), and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;  for this is My blood of the covenant, which is being poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.  But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it with you, new, in My Father’s kingdom.” The matzah that He took is called the “Afikoman.” On the main plate which was for the person who was conducting the Seder, there was a separate plate of three matzah. The middle piece is pulled out, and given the traditional blessing  (Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth), then it is broken. Half of it is passed around, while the other half is wrapped in a white cloth and hidden. It was here that Yeshua said, “This is My body!” He is the Afikomen whose body was broken for us and then hidden in the grave. Later in the service the hidden part of the Afikomen is found and brought out, signifying the resurrection. Yeshua knew the hidden meaning behind the Passover Seder and He brings forth this revelation now to His disciples. It is at this point that an actual meal is eaten.  It is said in other accounts that it was after the meal that Yeshua took the cup, this cup is called the cup of redemption. It was this cup that Yeshua lifted up and said “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”  (Luke 22:20).  This is what was going through Yeshua’s mind when He finally agreed to change the water into wine. The wine which was symbolic of  His blood that was going to be poured out for the forgiveness of the sins of mankind.  This was His first miracle, but His last greatest task would lead to His final miracle, His resurrection, the victory.  Yes, the best was saved for last. As the blood was placed on the lintel of the door in Egypt, so too His blood covers us. As the Israelites had the victory in crossing over the Red Sea, so too, we who are in the Messiah, have crossed over from death to life. Isaiah 55:1-2 says, “You there! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat.Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.” God is truly the God of abundance. Come and feast for He gives us the Bread of Life and let us drink from the Well of Salvation, The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be the time when Yeshua will once again drink from the vine. It is like one who makes a Nazarite vow not to drink from the vine but on that day His vow will be fulfilled.  A Diamond in the Ruff

Most people love diamonds. The bigger the better. The more they sparkle, the better they are. Even Marilyn Monroe sang a song entitled, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”  Yes, diamonds are beautiful with all the dazzle and  glitter. So what makes a diamond so beautiful? Well just this, all of the cuts they make to let the light shine through. They are called facets. The more facets, the more glitter, because of the angle in which the light hits it. The real question is how or what makes a diamond a diamond?  A diamond is nothing more than carbon. Yes, today we do not like the word carbon, it’s not a green word. But this is how diamonds are created. You have to take carbon and place it under pressure along with intense heat. Of course this takes many years, but then anything of any value takes years to develop. We are all like those diamonds in many ways. But we first must start at the beginning and in the beginning, we are like the carbon. We wonder why we go through things in life that may be hard or difficult. Well, that is because God is making us into diamonds.  It is through our trials that we begin to shine. Every trial is like a facet, a cut, that will allow the light to shine in us.  The Apostle James writes this, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-3) The Apostle Peter says this, “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7) The Apostle Paul says, “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5) The pressures of our trial and the cuts even to our hearts are so that we may go from carbon to diamonds and from the dullness of heart to light shining deep within us.  Eric Clapton’s song “Diamonds Made From Rain” speaks of this very transformation in our lives. “Every stone that I have turned. Each forgiveness I have earned. Every shame that’s taught me grace, from you I have learned. That everything is shown to me, I let it wash over me, like diamonds made of rain. You can find joy inside the pain. Everything that I’ve endured for the wisdom of a pearl I wouldn’t change a thing. You can make diamonds from the rain.”

What a great song! God wants you to shine and have great value. Won’t you let Him make you into a diamond?

Hebrew Corner               The Martyrs: Bartholomew

 Bartholomew is more a family name as we see in Hebrew,  (bar) means son of  and the rest means Tolmai, so he was the son of Tolmai. Bartholomew is listed three times as one of the twelve Apostles, in Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18 and Luke 6:14 and also in the book of Acts 1:13.   He was a doctor in Jewish law and a dear friend of St. Philip the Apostle.  He is believed to be Nathaniel who is mentioned in John 1:43-51 which tells us this,  “The next day Yeshua decided to go to Galilee, and He found Philip. And Yeshua said to him, “Follow Me.”  Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.  Philip  found Nathaniel (Bartholomew) and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses wrote in the Law, and the prophets also wrote: Yeshua the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!”  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good be from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Yeshua saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite, in whom there is no deceit!”  Nathaniel said to Him, “How do You know me?” Yeshua answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Nathaniel answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel!”  Yeshua answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”  And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Bartholomew was favored by becoming one of the few Apostles who witnessed the appearance of the risen Savior on the Sea of Galilee (John 21:2)  The Historian Eusebius tells us that after the Ascension Bartholomew went to India where he left a copy of the Gospel of Matthew. But most likely it would have been after the Jewish Feast of Shavuot which we call Pentecost. Tradition has it that he also went to Mesopotamia, Parthia ( in modern Iran), Lycaonia ( in modern Turkey), Ethiopia and Armenia. There are many different ideas on how Bartholomew died.

The most prominent tradition, namely that Bartholomew was executed in Albanopolis in Armenia, has it that he was martyred for having converted Polymius, the king of Armenia, to Christianity. Enraged by the monarch’s conversion, and fearing a Roman backlash, King Polymius’s brother, Prince Astyages, ordered Bartholomew’s torture and execution. However, there are no records of any Armenian king of the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia with the name “Polymius”. 

Current scholarship indicates that Bartholomew is more likely to have died in Kalyan in India, where there was an official named “Polymius”. Some believed he was crucified, while others believed he was beaten unconscious and thrown into the ocean and yet some believe he was beheaded. Regardless, he was martyred for his faith.

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